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The Army and Air Force Exchange Service could be giving customers throughout the biggest American military communities in Germany an unintended lump of coal this holiday season: no gas.

Because the Christmas and New Year’s holidays both fall on Mondays this year, some AAFES gas stations that typically receive daily deliveries won’t get fuel for up to three days, prompting the possibility of pumps running dry, AAFES officials said Monday.

The last delivery before Christmas will be on Saturday, Dec. 23, said Debbie Byerly, an AAFES spokeswoman. German delivery trucks will be unable to deliver gas on that Sunday or Monday because of the holiday and local laws regarding when the big rigs can be on highways.

The truck drivers also get Dec. 26 off, meaning that no gas will come to some stations until Dec. 27, she said.

Less than a week later, trucks will not be able to replenish fuel supplies on New Year’s Eve, a Sunday, or that Monday, Byerly said. The first gas supply of 2007 will have to wait until Jan. 2.

Some smaller and less busy gas stations won’t be affected, but with bigger operations such as those in the Kaiserslautern military community, where some stations get two gas deliveries a day, supplies could run short, Byerly said.

“That seems to be the area where we have the most problems,” she said. “They could run out.”

To keep gas in the storage tanks — which hold 20,000 to 40,000 liters on average — AAFES will ask Esso delivery personnel to make their gas dump as late as possible on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, Byerly said, in the hopes of keeping them supplied.

“The good news is that customers always have the option to utilize their [fuel] coupons,” Byerly said when asked what people should do if there’s no fuel on base.

Byerly also suggested that people fill up their tanks on the Friday or Thursday before the holiday weekends, so that there isn’t a rush at the pumps.

“It’s not a panic situation, but people should be aware,” she said.


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